The Big Kahuna Barbecued Packer Brisket

The Big Kahuna Barbecued Packer Brisket

Other Recipes from Planet Barbecue Episode 113 – Obsessed with Brisket

Introducing The Big Kahuna Barbecued Packer Brisket, a hearty recipe designed to feed a crowd with a simple yet effective approach. Starting with a sizable 12 to 14-pound packer brisket, the key lies in careful trimming, leaving a generous 1/4-inch fat layer to enhance flavor and moisture. Seasoning with a straightforward blend of coarse sea salt, cracked black peppercorns, and optional hot red pepper flakes results in a well-balanced and savory exterior. Utilizing a cardboard smoking platform is optional but recommended for maintaining optimal moisture during the barbecuing process. The brisket undergoes an 8-hour smoke at 250°F, achieving a rich, dark exterior with an internal temperature of around 165°F. After tightly wrapping in butcher paper and returning to the cooker, the brisket cooks until reaching 205°F, ensuring tenderness and flavor development. A rest in an insulated cooler allows the meat to relax, and subsequent slicing reveals succulent, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The brisket is served either on its own or with optional sliced white bread, allowing the juicy flavors to shine. This recipe strikes a perfect balance between simplicity and bold barbecue satisfaction, making it a go-to for gatherings or whenever a satisfying brisket craving arises.

Barbecued Packer Brisket


The Big Kahuna Barbecued Packer Brisket

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12 to 14 (with leftovers)
  • Method: Barbecuing


  • 1 large packer brisket (12 to 14 pounds)
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Cracked black peppercorns or freshly ground black peppercorns
  • Hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Sliced white bread, for serving (optional)


  • A rimmed sheet pan; a perforated, foil-wrapped cardboard smoking platform; wood logs, chunks, or soaked, drained hardwood chips; a metal bowl or aluminum foil pan; pink butcher paper (unlined); insulated gloves; a digital instant-read thermometer (preferably remote); an insulated cooler; a welled cutting board.

Recipe Steps

1: Using a sharp knife, trim the brisket, leaving a layer of fat at least 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not to over-trim. It’s better to err on the side of too much fat than too little.

2: Place the brisket on a rimmed sheet pan and generously season the top, bottom, and sides with salt, black pepper, and, if you like your brisket spicy, hot red pepper flakes. Some people combine these ingredients ahead in a rub.

3: If using a cardboard platform (see You’ll Also Need), arrange the brisket fat side up on top of it. The platform is optional, but it keeps the bottom of the brisket from drying out and burning.

4: Fire up your smoker, cooker, or grill following the manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 250°F. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer. Place a metal bowl or aluminum foil pan with 1 quart of warm water in the smoker—this creates a humid environment that will help the smoke adhere to the meat and keep your brisket moist.

5: Transfer the brisket (on its cardboard platform, if using) to the smoker. If using an offset smoker, position the thicker end of the brisket toward the firebox. Cook the brisket until the outside is darkly browned and the internal temperature registers around 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 8 hours. If the end of the flat starts to dry out or burn, cover it with an aluminum foil cap. Refuel your cooker as needed, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

6: Remove the brisket from the smoker and tightly wrap it in butcher paper. Return it to the cooker.

7: Continue cooking the brisket until the internal temperature reaches 205°F and the meat is very tender when tested, another 2 to 4 hours, or as needed.

8: Place the wrapped brisket in an insulated cooler and let it rest for 1 to 2 hours. (This allows the meat to relax and the juices to redistribute.)

9: Unwrap the brisket and transfer it to a welled cutting board. Pour any juices that accumulated in the butcher paper into a bowl.

10: Trim off any large lumps of fat. Cut the brisket in half widthwise (long side to long side) to obtain a flat section and a point section; set the point section aside. Make a diagonal cut to remove the thinnest corner of the flat, which will likely be tougher and drier than the rest of the brisket. (Dice it and serve as burnt ends) Slice the brisket across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices or as desired.

11: Transfer the sliced brisket to a platter. Add any juices from the cutting board to the reserved juices in the bowl, spoon them over the sliced brisket. Serve the brisket by itself or with bread and/or sauce on the side. (You know where I stand on the matter.)

Recipe Tips

Our thanks to the sponsors of Planet Barbecue Season 1:

Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue is a production of Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2023 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein

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